High-Sensitivity Subsurface Sensing System

Technology #ua08-003

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Oleg Krichenko
Steven Dvorak
Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Ben Sternberg
Professor, Mining & Geological Engineering
Managed By
John Geikler
Asst. Director, Physical Science Licensing (520) 626-4605

Title: A New High-Sensitivity Subsurface Sensing System (ATAC)

Invention: The system uses orthogonal antennas and rotation of the beam about its  axis to preserve the primary coupling while changing the target coupling.  The beam may be either vertical or horizontal.  The prototype system currently has a dynamic  range of 134 dB, with an expected increase to over 200 dB when a TX moment comparable to  that of current commercial systems is used.  With the larger TX moment, similar to that of  current commercial systems, the ATAC system should be able to detect a standard 2" pipe target at a depth of 9m, i.e. 6X deeper than current systems.  When paired with the related procedure for separating target responses from residual errors due to the background earth, this extraordinarily high sensitivity system is applicable to practical exploration problems.

Background: A major limitation of existing  subsurface sensing technology is sensor drift  during the course of measurements.  For example, commercial instruments can show drift rates of  several hundred ppm over typical survey times.  To address this problem, the Laboratory for  Advanced Subsurface Imaging and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  developed Alternating Target Antenna Coupling  (ATAC) for making very high-sensitivity measurements with greatly reduced drift.


  • Nondestructive testing
  • Medical diagnostic imaging
  • Security monitoring though walls and foliage
  • Geophysical exploration


  • Higher sensitivity, allowing detection of  smaller and deeper targets
  • Reduced drift (< 1 ppm), allowing stable  scans over longer times


Licensing Manager:

John Geikler


(520) 626-4605